At the beginning of this year, there were 4.2 billion social media users around the world (equaling ~54% of the global population), up 490 million (or 13%) from the previous 12 months (Source). As time spent on social media increases, the marketing opportunity of social media influencers will continue to rise. The global digital advertising market in 2021 is expected to be ~$180b (Source). Influencer marketing is expected to grow to be worth $13.8b in 2021 and boast higher ROI and engagement than traditional marketing campaigns (Source).
Types of Influencers?: Within the influencer umbrella, there are 4 distinct types of influencers, based on the size of their following and their niche:
What do influencers do for a brand?: Primarily, influencer marketing works across 3 main verticals - building brand awareness, strengthening consumer-brand relationships, and improving buyer conversion. In gaming, this is especially prolific.
Influencer marketing has been successful across industries - Film, Music, Food, Medicine, Fashion, Beauty, Personal Care - however, some of the most successful stories are within consumer facing products:
What does this mean for monetization? TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions found that influencer marketing generates 11x the ROI of traditional digital marketing (Source). Twitter reported that ~40% of users have made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer (Source).
Influencer marketing in video gaming is more interactive and personal: Instead of utilizing traditional social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, gamers and gaming influencers typically flock to Twitch and YouTube. There is a distinct difference in content as well - instead of media that can only be viewed, gaming content is much more interactive and personal (live streaming). Static, viewable content is still game/category specific, ranging from commentary/review, reaction, and play through videos.
The more personal live/video interactions between consumers and influencers directly correlates to engagement, direct influencer monetization, and buyer conversion to branded products. According to a study by Bazaarvoice, more than half of surveyed audiences (54%) in Europe feel that influencer sponsored content misrepresents real life while 80% of Twitch users are open to brands sponsoring a specific gamer. Some more statistics on viewers and gaming influencers on Twitch:
There is a greater opportunity for video gaming companies to take advantage of influencer marketing. However, this needs to be a dedicated strategy and not an afterthought to a company’s marketing budget. Similarly to companies in other industries, gaming brands need to avoid the same risks that other industries encounter and craft a strategy targeted at gamers. Here are a thoughts on how to do this:
How Apple won: Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers upheld the App Store's overall structure as legal and determined that Apple does not have an illegal monopoly over how developers can process payments for mobile games. Epic Games is required to pay compensation of 30% of the $12 million it earned in revenue from the App Store to Apple for damages (Fortnite).
How Epic won: Apple must allow developers to include alternate payment links, call to action, and external links within apps. While Apple recently updated their terms to allow developers to provide information regarding alternative payment methods via external communication channels (i.e., email), this is a significant step forward for the App Store’s constituents.
What it means for mobile gaming: Mobile developers will now be able to link to 3rd party payment processors which will increase developer margins. Eric Seufert (analyst at Mobile Dev Memo and QuantMar, ex-Skype/Wooga/Rovio) has a great analysis HERE.
Our favorite breakdowns that we read this week: